14 August 2014

Those Thursday Places: Wah Wah Tay See Way, Battle Creek, Michigan

Travis and Kirsten , December 1988, on Wah Wah Tay See Way in Battle Creek, Michigan

Moving to Battle Creek, aka The Cereal City, was our third move in as many years.  We were hoping it would be one of our last moves for awhile.  Kirsten and Travis were really good about the moves. We had a few nights of transition at bed time, but they handled it very well.  I am not so sure about me.  I never felt that I was able to get everything unpacked during those years.

The Wah Wah Tay See Way home enabled us to become part of the community that Kirk worked in.  We were of the belief that it was important to spend your pay check in the community that supported it.  Kirk was a public school employee.  It is interesting how that philosophy has changed over the years.  Overall, we never regretted it as Kirsten and Travis got a wonderful education, but at times I think it would have been nice to distance ourselves a little bit.  It was hard to be a parent and a school employee at the same time while advocating for your children and their education.

We moved into this home in the spring of the 1988, just before school was out for the summer.  The first summer in Battle Creek was filled with exploring the city.  It was like playing tourist, but coming home to your own bed at night.  Battle Creek had a lot to offer that summer and we tried to take advantage of it.

Our Family at the World's Largest, now Longest, Breakfast Table

We went to our first World's Longest Breakfast Table in 1988!  It was our kick off to our first summer in Battle Creek. Battle Creek has long been associated as the place that cereal was invented and what better place to have a cereal festival.  The Cereal Festival and World's Longest Breakfast Table was started in 1956 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Kellogg's Company.  Over the years Post and Ralston have joined the Festival and made it quite the event to go to. The Breakfast Table experience has changed throughout the years, but the year we attended you found a seat at the table and you were served cereal, milk, tang, and doughnut holes. Now, you stop at centralized tables and serve yourself.  Kirsten and Travis enjoyed it.  Tony the Tiger was a favorite character to get your picture taken with as well as Toucan Sam, Snap, Crackle and Pop and others, all roaming around the area.

Next, was a visit to Binder Park Zoo.  Our family spent many hours riding the train, seeing many animals, visiting the gift shop and more.  We bought a family membership to the zoo and we were able to visit it whenever we wanted to without paying more money for the entrance fee.  The stroller got a great workout that summer at the zoo.

 Travis discovering hot air balloons for the first time.  
The balloons are coming, the balloons are coming!

The Balloon Festival was another fun part of our summer.  Each year Battle Creek has held some type of a balloon festival, or air show.  The first few years we were in Battle Creek the balloons were awesome.  Kirsten and Travis loved seeing the hot air balloons flying over our house.  The one week festival let us enjoy many different balloon sightings throughout the city.  The specialty balloons were their favorite.  They enjoyed finding Sugar Bear, Mickey Mouse, the Sun with Sunglasses and Tony the Tiger.  They thought the balloons were 'Grrrre-at'.

Moi, Travis and Kirsten at Cornwell's.  I remember it being 100 degrees that day, it was hot!  The outfit Kirsten had on looked like a strawberry.  So many people would comment on it when she would wear it.  Travis was a tow headed cutie. who always had a smile on his face.

A trip to Cornwell's Turkey Farm was a must see place that summer.  The 'Turkey Farm' is a fun, family friendly place where you can get a delicious turkey dinner all year round.  Kirsten and Travis enjoyed going to the Turkey Farm to see the turkeys, some roaming around freely and others in the barn.  An old fashioned ice cream parlor, game room, candy corner, and gift shop were fun to explore.

The Turtle Pool, I wish I had a video of us bringing it home. We brought it home on the top of a Toyota Corolla, when we got to the end of our block, Kirk took it off the car and carried it home.

This was the first summer I remember Kirsten and Travis playing well together.  I have always felt I hit the jackpot with great kids.  I know every mother says that, but I don't remember my children fighting.  Yes, they had the occasional disagreement as they grew up, but Kirsten was a very, loving, older sister and Travis was a very, easy-going child.  

Playing firefighters with the Fisher Price Fire Truck play set.

They loved the kiddie pool in the backyard and a small slide on the back, screened in porch.  The brown chair, above, was a favorite place of theirs.  Kirsten would 'read' books to Travis, they would play fire fighters, share a bowl of popcorn, and just hang out in it.  I really enjoyed them that summer.  It was a relaxing and fun time with lots to do and see.

Kirsten, ready for her first day at Woodlawn Preschool, September, 1988.

The summer ended and Kirk went back to school and so did Kirsten.  Kirsten attended Woodlawn Preschool.  This was her second year in Preschool.  Woodlawn Preschool had the parents line their cars up along 22nd Street in Battle Creek and staff would open the door for each child and escort them into the school.  Travis, about 20 months old at the time, was in his car seat in the back seat with Kirsten. The minute the car door closed, Travis started crying.  He wanted to go with her. We would pick up Kirsten the same way, lining up on 22nd Street, and he would be so happy when he spotted 'sis', his name for her, waiting on the porch for her turn to go home.  I have always credited Woodlawn with creating in Kirsten a life long love of music. She loved music time at Woodlawn.

The singing career gets it start!

Music was always a big part of our day at this age.  Kirsten loved Sharon, Lois and Bram and their "Elephant Show".  She would have to dress up when the show came on and she would sing her heart out. She loved I Am Slowly Going Crazy, Skinnamarink, and If I Knew You Were Coming I'd Have Baked a Cake songs.   Travis would be in the same room playing, but his love was Raffi.  Raffi would come on and he would be the one singing.  He loved Baby Beluga, Six Little Ducks, and Shake My Sillies Out songs. I remember playing with Travis and Kirsten at this age.  We would play restaurant at the Fisher Price Kitchen. Memory was a favorite board game for Kirsten and I to play. Travis and I would play with blocks or 'Bristle Bears'.  Both children loved to be read too.  

A clown and a princess were the choices for Halloween that year.  Kirsten had a party at Preschool.  We took the kids to Binder Park Zoo for the Zoo Boo.  They walked around the zoo and got to trick or treat among some of the animals that were on exhibit.  The kids were amazed by the small size boxes of cereal that were handed out. Getting pop tarts in their trick and treat bags was special too. It is the Cereal City!

It wasn't long and spring rolled around.  We were looking forward to another great summer at Wah Wah Tay See Way.  We were renting here and were surprised when the owner put the house up for sale.  We didn't want to buy it as we thought there was too much work that needed to be done.  I wasn't a big fan of the gold shag carpet!  One of the two bathrooms needed major repair work and the layout was weird. 

It was a three bedroom home.  The living room area was huge with a lovely fireplace that housed racoons from time to time.  A L shaped hallway led from the front door to the bedroom and main bath area.  There were two good size bedrooms and one very small one.  You could walk through the small bedroom from the hallway to the kitchen.  The entrance to the screened in porch was from this bedroom.  The kitchen needed some serious updating.  The configuration of it was weird.  There was a nice size breakfast nook here.  The cooking area was a galley type with led from the back door to the living room area.  An unfinished full size basement was underneath it all. The water was from a well and there was a faucet in the garage that when it froze, a gusher came from it.  I remember a sold sign going up and we weren't even notified it had been sold. We started looking right away.  We were moving again!

The memories I have at Wah Wah Tay See Way were wonderful.  We got to explore our new town and spent a lot of family time together.  I met a wonderful friend, Donna, and we are still friends today. Check back next month to see what our next move would bring.


  1. Thanks for the time travel through my childhood in Battle Creek! Even though mine predated your children's by about 30 years, much was similar. The largest breakfast table, Cornwell's a bit later, Binder Park (My great-grandmother was a Binder!) though it was nothing like now, and I even attended Woodlawn Nursery School which was off Emmett St. then in an ancient converted hospital building.

  2. Thanks, Battle Creek has changed a lot throughout the years, but many of the old standbys are still here. The Binder's have done a lot for this community.